The menu seems to be a fanciful mix of someone’s favourite nostalgic noshings, taken up a notch in gastropub-style aspirations. From lamb shank pie and lobster mac and cheese to jaffles (that come in various options, including pulled pork and Durban curry fillings), burgers, steaks and deconstructed pastas, there’s a variety of weird and wonderful comfort food options. The pork belly is one of the signature dishes and is a hearty and satisfying plate of creamy mustard mash, tangy and flavourful cabernet jus and crispy crackling garnish.
The fish and chips is simple enough, so it’s best to opt for the more robust dishes if you’re craving a generous helping of flavour. The winners are the burgers, such as the Cherry Cabernet option – a beef patty, smothered in a cherry cabernet sauce, topped with caramelized onions and Emmenthal cheese and hugged between brioche buns.
Desserts are classics with little twists. The mojito cheesecake is a fun take on a Durban favourite, topped with lemongrass and lime syrup. The white chocolate and cranberry bread and butter pudding is indulgence that suspends any calorie counting.
If saccharine sweet cocktails are to your liking, go for that, otherwise stick to the regular mixers. The spirits selection is large and impressive. For gin fans, the bar is very well stocked with various craft gins. And speaking of gin, they come in regular and giant!
The evenings are abuzz with loud cheerful conversations from a crowd of locals, tourists, executives and regulars. It’s a beautifully decorated venue that has a large cocktail bar in the centre and various seating options flanking it. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, rendered classy and vibrant by the patrons and the décor.
Indulge in drinks and conversation as the service can take some time.
For craft beer lovers there’s a “flights” section on the menu! Either the Chef’s Harvest Board, which is piled with cheeses, candied walnuts, fruit and cured meats and paired with four different mini craft beer tastings; or the slightly more restrained Beer & Brat, which comes with the same amount of beer but with sausage bites, pretzels and a cheese sauce.
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The large and slightly overwhelming menu offers modern gastropub fare with a good layer of comfort. To start, go for the tender and lightly crumbed salt and pepper calamari, paired with a delightfully tangy chilli ginger jam, or the halloumi, fig and prosciutto spring rolls (although the chilli dipping sauce is slightly-too-sweet). The copper pots of cider-soaked mussels were also flying out the kitchen – definitely a good sign. For a simple light lunch, the jaffles are definitely the way to go. They are a tad on the small side but are packed with flavour and served with a good portion of fries. The BBQ pulled pork option is smoky and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Other tempting fillings include Durban chicken curry and bacon, brie and cranberry.
The ‘signatures’ section on the menu boasts a few intriguing options, which includes the popular pie of the day. If you’re a big seafood fan, the grilled prawns are excellent. Perfectly pink and plump, they’re dusted in moreish Szechuan pepper and served with roasted garlic aioli and a side of golden fries. The lobster mac ‘n cheese is one of those trendy dishes that you either love or hate. The creamy pasta is served on a plate rather than baked in an oven dish and has generous pieces of delicate lobster on top. The dish is rich and luxurious with a gruyère cheese sauce and a crumble of crispy herbs, carrot and leeks. The sauce, however, is surprisingly smoky – perhaps from a smoked cheese. It doesn’t state this on the menu; so bear this in mind if you are not a fan of smoky flavours.
Desserts include decadent options like Eton mess, Bar One spring rolls and a hot fudge sundae. We decided to go for the lighter sounding Mojito cheesecake. Fresh and zesty from the lime, it was a good, simple fridge cheesecake, but lacked that mojito zing. There is also a selection of indulgent sounding spiked milkshakes for those who want an extra alcoholic kick with their dessert.
It’s a gastropub, which means the drinks list is pretty comprehensive. The craft beer and cocktail offering is impressive as are the wines (albeit a bit pricey).
The gleaming wraparound bar takes centre stage and striking low-slung lights and brown leather booth seating add a sophisticated feel. Reminiscent of a swanky 70’s hotel, the space is adorned with palm tree wallpaper and colours of green and gold. It’s stylish and retro with great acoustics.
A little nervous at first but friendly and efficient.
Try the flights of beer served with cheese or German sausage bites for a fun mini beer and food pairing.